Quote Originally Posted by Curt View Post
Just yesterday UPS announced a profit increase for the quarter, they aren't hurting, just squeezing those who have to pay.
No one "has" to pay. They can use FedEx or the postal service if they don't like UPS's rates. A vague and ill-informed hostility to the workings of capitalism seems to permeate this, and other, online forums. I'm not attacking Curt personally, just pointing out the prevalence of the attitude his post seems to reveal.

Herewith a brief primer: capital seeks its highest rate of return. UPS will charge what it thinks it has to, above covering its costs (can you imagine UPS's fuel bills?), to offer its owners sufficient ROI, thereby attracting capital to continue its operations and future growth. This is the sole purpose of a corporation (aside from occasional service as Congressional whipping-boy, tort-bar suckling pig, or "corporate" tax conduit--since "corporate" taxes are paid by customers, employees, and shareholders, not by corporations.) UPS is no more a charity than is the Formulary.

At some point UPS will be constrained by market forces from further raising its prices, lest it lose market share. If its operating costs continue to escalate, yet it can't charge more for its services, then those profits you decry will decrease. At some point this will result--in the aggregate across a vast economy--in fewer choices and poorer service for the customer. Feel better?

Investors make capital-investment decisions based on potential ROI versus risk. This is why, for instance, pharmaceutical companies have--and must have--relatively high profit margins; theirs is an extremely risky business, and they can't attract capital unless they consistently deliver profit commensurate with that risk. [So let's beat the crap out of them, and blame the ills of our healthcare-delivery system on their "excessive" profits. Much easier than figuring out an actual fix, which would probably require a permanent Congressional recess.]

Same with oil companies. No one at present remembers when oil was $10 a barrel, and the Gulf Coast was in the crapper as oil- and oil-service companies were going belly up left and right (I grew up in Louisiana so I DO remember.) Now we have the feckless idiots in Congress parading oil-company execs in front of the cameras to account for their "obscene" "windfall" profits--never mind that their profit margins, at 8-10%, are about a third of those regularly enjoyed by the tech industry.

Bottom line, oil prices are driven by the balance of supply and demand, and by transactions at the margins where speculators try to divine future trends. There is some evidence that higher prices are changing driving habits more effectively than any government mandate ever has. If you're old enough to recall gas lines in the 70's, you'll know to pray that Congress does not heed the calls for someone to "do something." Any "something" ginned up by government is sure to make things worse, unless two centuries of previous experience can offer no future guidance.

Thanks for letting ME vent.